The Lord Sri Venkateswaraswamy is the
all-pervading Lord of the Universe.
Tirumala’s Balaji shrine is among the more famous
temples of India. It reportedly attracts the largest
number of pilgrims for any shrine in India. It also
has a reputation of being one of the richest shrines
in the world. It is managed by Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanam
Tirupati/Tirumala is a pilgrimage center of great significance
and is visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims
throughout the year.Venkateswara, or Srinivasa or Balaji
as the presiding deity Vishnu is known, is enshrined
in this temple, located on a range of the Eastern Ghats,
called the Seven Hills.It is an ancient temple and its
glory has been sung by the saints of the yesteryears.
Said to be the richest temple in India, this temple
is a vibrant cultural and philanthropic institution
with a grand history spanning several centuries. It
attracts pilgrims from all over the country and it is
not unusual for pilgrims to stand in line for hours
together to obtain a glimpse of the presiding deity
for a few fleeting seconds.
TTD, or Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam manages the affairs
of the temple, the well being of the pilgrims, the upkeep
of the environs in and around the Tirumala hills and
sponsors several undertakings that are religious, charitable,
social and educational in nature.
References to Tiruvenkatam abound in early Tamil literature(Tolkappiam
and Silappadikaram) . Explicit reference to the Lord
of Tiruvenkatam is found in the works of the early Tamil
Saint Poets Poigai Alwar, Bhuthathu Alwar and Pay Alwar
as well as in the poems of the later Alwars. The great
religious leader Ramanuja Acharya is said to have visited
here in the 11th - 12th century AD.
References to Venkatachalam are also found in several
of the Puranas. Tirumalai constitutes one of the 108
Sri Vaishnava Divya Desams - sacred shrines in the Sri
Vaishnavite tradition. Krishna Deva Raya of the Vijayanagar
Empire is said to have visited this temple 7 times.
An image of his is also found in the temple. The Venkatesa
Itihasa Mala and the Varaha Purana contain several legends
connected with Tirumalai.
Location: Tirupati is a town in the Chittoor district
of the Southern portion of Andhra Pradesh and is at
a convenient train journey away from Chennai (formerly
Madras) in Tamilnadu. Tirumalai, on the last of the
seven Hills, is home to this temple and is connected
by a well maintained and picturesque mountain road constructed
by the Tirumala Tirupati Devastanam.
Legend Behind the temple
Lord Venkateswara or Balaji is considered to be an incarnation
of Lord Vishnu himself. It is believed that he came
to reside on the southern bank of Swami Pushkarni, a
tank which passes by Tirumala.
The seven hills around Tirumala-Tirupati are also known
as Sapthagiri after the seven hoods of Sheshnag –
the cosmic serpent. The temple of Sri Venkateswara is
located on the seventh peak, Venkatadri.
According one legend, as Saint Ramanuja born in 11th
Century AD climbed the seven hills of Tirupati, Lord
Srinivas- another name for Lord Venkateswara- appeared
before him and gave him his blessings. And after that
he is believed to have been blessed to live till the
ripe age of 120 years to spread the gospel of Sri Venkateswara.
People are encouraged to visit Tirumala on the day of
Ekadasi in the month of Vaikunta, at which time all
pilgrims in the abode of God will be forgiven of all
their sins. They also would definitely attain salvation
after they die, it is believed.